Saturday, May 23, 2009

Veg Out: Vino and the PZA

Piazza Pie

Northern Liberties is a dining mecca because it's easy, varied, and relatively inexpensive compared to other zips. It's rapidly morphing into Seitan-adelphia. Even in its blueprint days, when only true visionaries perched there, there was many a vegetarian meal to be had.

Let us now have a moment of silence for the grilled seitan tips at the late Azure.

Let us now admit that its replacement Cantina Dos Segundos has a staggering vegan beef taco.

The only way we could further en-fatten the veg-folk here is if the Falafel Nazi from 20th opened a late-night falafel cart outside of Standard Tap.

Well, that doesn't seem likely, but the Piazza at Schmidts restaurants have finally opened.

So far, I've experienced a cringeworthy wait for breakfast at Darling's. We left after drinking our coffee and twiddling our thumbs, then popped over to El Camino Real for seitan huevos rancheros and crispy-on-the-outside griddlecakes. I use tequila as syrup. I'll go back to Darlings in a few weeks when the staff is ready to pay attention to young, charming pancake-seekers and their contemporaries.

I found dinner at Vino with two vacation vegetarians*. We wanted to be near the goings-on and were attracted to an outdoor table. The kitchen seemed to be running smoothly and the long bar had a nice buzz to it. It was refreshing to have such an extended option of wines by the glass. Typically, NL is my Margaritaville. Sometimes, though, I stray.

When we ordered, our server informed us that the appetizer menu wasn't available until later (we were kind of early), which limited us to the salad/panini/pizza section. That was fine by us, and brought on spinach salad with fig, gorgonzola, and red onion, followed by brick-oven margherita 10-inchers.

The salads were composed a bit unevenly, with dressing puddled on some top leaves of spinach and the rest of a mound of greens bone dry. There were two fig halves buried underneath. When our server asked for feedback, we let him know that they ought to up their fig take on this, as it seemed like a focal point. He promised that our next salad would be figged out.

The house margherita, however, was everything I needed it to be. Thin, bubbly crust and velvety sauce, minimal but precise effects of cheese. Just because I'm veg doesn't mean I always gun for the vegetable pie, but they have one of those, too. By this time we were made aware that the appetizers were all systems go.

The interior is spacious, handsome, and moody, not as casual as the outdoor tables imply. Gals can vamp around in there. Wineos can act up. The other way around if they should like. There's versatility.

And soon, as soon as today, there will be one hell of a fig salad.

The entire menu is up at Meal Ticket, along with the edible layout of the Piazza.

Vino at the Piazza, 1001 N. 2nd St.

*vacation vegetarian - one who dabbles in vegetarianism for any extended period of time to obtain a hot body or optimal health.


Flufftronix! said...

Apparently Vino contracted an electrical company that doesn't build to standard, and uses unfair labor practices? I got a flyer out front today; it wasn't very thorough though and I kinda wanna research it a little more. Will skip for the time being.

I agree on El Camino for sure though; glad they got their act together! Hoping Darling's will follow.. they finally taped a menu to the window the other day, seems like a pretty tawdry selection they've got going

kdubz said...

I heard about that, but haven't investigated. Potential post? I can tell you that their pizza is practiced in an extremely fair manner.

Darlings need to start putting cheesecake in everything - cheesecake french toast is the only way to stand out these days.

Thanks for reading!